A Texas-Sized Attack on Women

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The GOP’s War on Women Marches On

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) called a special session of the Texas legislature to deal with redistricting (Texas’ redistricting plan was thrown out for violating the Voting Rights Act), but then subsequently added abortion to the agenda after Senate Democrats thwarted efforts to pass new restrictions during the legislature’s regular session.

The GOP’s assault on abortion rights includes measures similar to what we’ve seen in dozens of other states, including:

  • An unconstitutional ban on all abortions after 20 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest.
  • Burdensome and unnecessary regulations that will have the effect of closing 37 of the states’s 42 abortion clinics.
  • A ban on medication abortions (abortions that use an abortion pill) via telemedicine.

In just the latest example of outrageous comments about rape and women’s bodies, the measure’s sponsor, Rep. Jody Laubenberg (R), bizarrely suggested that rape kits are a form of abortion. “In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out,” said Laubenberg.

The measure will leave women in rural Texas with almost no health care options. Some would have to drive 600 miles or more each way simply to consult with an abortion provider, meaning any procedure could take several days including transit time.

The session is over Tuesday at midnight and the Texas GOP is now trying to do everything it can to pass its sweeping attack on women’s rights before the deadline. Last night, hundreds of protesters flooded the Texas State Capitol as House Democrats tried unsuccessfully to block the bill, which was ultimately passed around 3:00 a.m.

Normally bills have to wait 24 hours after passage before they can be taken up the other chamber, but Senate Republicans sought to take advantage of the absence of one Democrat who was attending her father’s funeral to try and get around the limit and pass the bill immediately. While it appears that procedural maneuver will not be successful, a single Democrat will still have to filibuster the bill for the entirety of the remaining hours of the session in order to stop it from passing.

A poll out last week found that a majority of Texans oppose the bill and a whopping 80 percent of Texans don’t even think the legislature should be dealing with the issue during its special session.

We’ll keep you up to date as this story develops, but it’s clear that the GOP has no intention of halting their efforts to outlaw abortion nor their apparently endless series of insulting and offensive comments about rape.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

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Advocacy Team